Golden Apple celebrates 30th anniversary; Announces expansion of Scholars Program
September 29, 2015 (Chicago, IL) – A Tribute Dinner was held in honor of the Golden Apple founders, Mike and Pat Koldyke, at the Four Seasons in Chicago on last Thursday evening.
Approximately 400 guests gathered to recognize the Koldyke’s commitment and work as education advocates, and celebrate Golden Apple’s 30th anniversary, as well as the dramatic expansion of the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program. Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, was the keynote speaker. Rob Johnson, anchor with CBS 2 Chicago, was the master of ceremonies for the event.
Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Scholars program, which prepares highly effective future teachers to succeed in Illinois schools-of-need. The program is expanding to select 250 Scholars in 2016. To meet the increasing demand for great teachers at more than 3,500 Illinois schools-of-need, Golden Apple expects to grow the annual cohort of Golden Apple Scholars to 400 by 2018.
Scholars are prepared comprehensively for the most challenging teaching environments and receive:
1. Tuition support at 52 partner universities; up to $23,000 during college
2. Four paid Summer Institutes that include courses and extensive classroom/work experience
3. Academic support
4. Job placement assistance
5. Ongoing mentoring from award-winning teachers throughout college and during the early years of teaching
“Pat and Mike Koldyke had a strong vision when they founded the Golden Apple Foundation 30 years ago to celebrate and support Illinois’ exceptional educators,” said Dominic Belmonte, President and CEO of Golden Apple. “We are thrilled that the Koldyke's work is growing through the dramatic expansion of the Scholars Program, and look forward to preparing more outstanding teachers for high-need schools.”
Nominations for the Scholars Program are open through January 2016. Talented high school seniors, as well as first- and second-year college students who have the promise and drive to be excellent teachers in high-need schools may nominate themselves. Teachers and counselors also may nominate an outstanding young person who would like to become a teacher. Please visit goldenapple.org/apply to submit nominations.
When Scholars complete the program, they have acquired more than three times the classroom experiences garnered by traditionally-prepared teachers. Golden Apple continues to support Scholars after they begin their teaching careers through mentoring and professional development opportunities. In return for the financial and professional development support that Golden Apple provides, Scholars agree to teach in a high-need school in Illinois for five years following graduation.
The support provided by the Golden Apple Foundation results in an 80% retention rate for Scholars who begin teaching. This is in sharp contrast to the state of Illinois, which only has a 55% retention rate without this support. No other teacher preparation program has achieved the success of the Golden Apple Scholars Program in adding to the diversity of the Illinois teaching force and in retaining teachers in the profession – providing credible, stable role models for at-risk youth in challenging schools.
2015 Golden Apple Scholars: At a Glance
57% - First-generation college students
50% - Underrepresented population
36% - Low income
25 – Average ACT score
About Golden Apple
2015 marks Golden Apple’s 30th year of innovating teacher preparation to transform both the careers of teachers, as well as the lives of students in Illinois. Our focus is on advancing educational excellence for Illinois’ most under-served students. We begin by recognizing high school and collegiate talent with a passion for teaching and a drive to create positive change for students and their communities. We enhance their college education with exemplary advanced teacher preparation, game-changing resources and lifelong support, through our Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program. Golden Apple is composed of recognized superior educators, including Golden Apple Award recipients and finalists, leading a passionate team of devoted staff with technical and program expertise, as well as a connected and committed board of directors charged with overseeing our strategic vision. Visit http://www.goldenapple.org for more information.